“What I really hope we can accomplish is to offer a model of what serious coverage of the Catholic Church will look like in a major secular news outlet,” Allen says.
Vatican journalist and expert John L. Allen, Jr. will join the staff of the The Boston Globe as an associate editor next month in a bid to enrich the media's coverage of religion and the Church.
“What I really hope we can accomplish is to offer a model of what serious coverage of the Catholic Church will look like in a major secular news outlet,” Allen said in a Jan. 7 conversation with CNA.
“Fundamentally, what I hope is that this will lift up an example of what getting this story right would look like, so that in the end it's not just The Boston Globe doing it, but I hope it has a kind of leavening effect in the media business generally.”
Allen's new post, which he will assume Feb. 1, was announced Tuesday. The Globe is one of Boston's two major dailies; last year, its Sunday edition circulation was more than 380,000. Nearly 46 percent of the population of the Boston area is Catholic.
The paper's editor, Brian McGrory noted in a statement the “resurgence of global interest in the Catholic Church” following the election of Pope Francis, saying there is “nobody in the nation better suited” than Allen to cover the Church.
“John is basically the reporter that bishops and cardinals call to find out what’s going on within the confines of the Vatican. His inexhaustible energy, supported by extraordinary insights, is legendary.”
Allen said he will fundamentally “continue to do the kind of reporting and analysis on the Vatican and the Church that I've always done,” and that his role as editor will largely be part of a “ramped-up” coverage of the Church by the Globe.
“I'll be guiding, quarterbacking that in some sense, but the primary thing is, I'm going to continue to be a correspondent in the field,” he added.
McGrory said Allen will help the Globe “explore the very real possibility of launching a free-standing publication devoted to Catholicism.”